Getting hungry while you’re on the go? There’s one fast food chain that you’ll see popping up pretty much everywhere you look: Taco Bell. It’s one of the best-known fast food joints out there, and it’s known for having super cheap eats. Even if you’re on a strict budget, there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to grab something here without worrying too much about your wallet. As for the menu? It’s filled with lots of Mexican and Tex-Mex-inspired dishes … though some of them do go overboard.
If you haven’t spent a lot of time eating Taco Bell, though, you may find yourself at a loss when you pull up to the drive-thru. The first thing you’ll notice is that there are a shocking number of different options available to you. From tacos to burritos to quesadillas and so much more, the sheer scale of the selection can be overwhelming. And if you haven’t even tried most of it before, how do you know it’s good?
Here at Mashed, we wanted to do the hard work for you. We took a look at some of the most popular items on the menu, and we ranked them in order from least delicious to most craveable. Are some of these ratings subjective? Absolutely. But you can use this as a guide to help you pick the right dish when you make your way to the restaurant. Ready to get started?
19. Cinnamon Twists
Coming in at the very bottom of the list is a menu item that we don’t even want to talk about: the Cinnamon Twists. We appreciate Taco Bell putting something sweet on its menu because sometimes you want a sweet treat after a big lunch or dinner to end your meal on the right foot. However, if you’re thinking about ordering the Cinnamon Twists, you may want to rethink your fast food strategy.
While we assume that these Cinnamon Twists are meant to be reminiscent of churros, in reality, they couldn’t be further from churros if they tried. Instead of being crispy on the outside and soft and pillow-like on the inside, they’re completely crunchy all the way through — so much so that they taste a bit stale the first time you bite into one. And though we were afraid that they would be too sweet when we first saw them, we realized that the cinnamon sugar coating had essentially no flavor at all.
That just leaves you snacking on a bag full of what tastes like old fried dough that’s been cooked to a crisp. We totally see what they were trying to do here, and it was a good attempt. Unfortunately, it’s just not working for us.
18. Bean Burrito
We just have to say from the start that one of the things we love about Taco Bell is the fact that there are so many different vegetarian options available. This was even true before a lot of other fast food joints started using meat replacements like the Impossible burger. So, we don’t want to be hard on their veggie choices. But someone has to say it: the Bean Burrito is just not that good. It’s about as basic as you can get. It’s got beans, cheese, red sauce, and onion — and that’s it.
The refried beans at Taco Bell aren’t particularly tasty, so having them function as the base of the burrito is clearly not a good idea. The cheese does some heavy lifting here, but considering it’s Taco Bell’s weird shredded orange cheese, it’s not really doing its job very well. The onions save the day, adding a bit of crunch to what would otherwise be an incredibly mushy burrito. But even then, there aren’t enough of them to really make a substantial difference.
To top it all off, this is the kind of meal that you can easily make at home, even if you’re not a brilliant cook. If you do, it will be even cheaper than what you’ll find at Taco Bell. Our advice? Invest in some tortillas and a can of refried beans, and make this dish yourself if you have a craving for it. We just saved you a trip through the drive-thru.
17. Mountain Dew Baja Blast Freeze
It might seem strange to say, but one of the most popular menu items you’ll find at Taco Bell isn’t food at all: It’s a drink. The Mountain Dew Baja Blast Freeze has its fair share of followers, and even if you haven’t tried it before, you’ve probably heard of it. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a Taco Bell location that serves it with tequila. However, most of us aren’t that lucky and have to stick with the plain old virgin version. And without the tequila added, there’s nothing to write home about.
The first thing you’ll notice about this drink is the absolutely shocking color. If our ancestors came upon this drink in the wild, they probably would’ve thought it was poisonous. The bright aqua blue color is kind of a turnoff, as you don’t know exactly what’s been added to the drink to make it look like that. The flavor is syrupy sweet, and it leaves a lingering taste in your mouth after you’ve taken a sip. It has a hint of citrus to it, but in a way that makes it taste slightly of cleaning solution.
This one didn’t end up at the very last spot in our ranking because of how popular it can be. But let’s be honest: This stuff is not good.
Next up on the list is the Quesarito. What is a Quesarito, you ask? Well, it’s just what it sounds like: a combination between a quesadilla and a burrito. While that sounds like it could be promising, that’s far from the truth, mostly because the flavor is a bit one-note. It starts with the outside of the burrito, which is a double layer of tortillas with cheese in the middle. You have to admit: It’s a pretty good idea. We just wish they would have executed it better.
Then comes the filling. The burrito part is stuffed with seasoned beef, cheese, nacho cheese sauce, rice, sour cream, and chipotle sauce … and that’s it. That’s right: There’s literally no fresh element to this meal. When we took a bite, we were blown away by how good the quesadilla part was, but we were disappointed that there weren’t any onions, tomatoes, or lettuce automatically included. While the first bite or two tasted good, by the time we were halfway though, we realized we couldn’t even finish. It was just too much carbs and cheese and not nearly enough veggies.
Maybe someday, Taco Bell will realize the error of its ways and will add tomatoes and onions to the menu item without us having to ask for them to be added on. Until that time, though, the Quesarito sadly isn’t going to climb up any higher in the rankings.
15. Cinnabon Delights
Now, you already know that the Cinnamon Twists aren’t anything to write home about. Don’t worry, though — there’s another dessert item on the menu that you can check out: the Cinnabon Delights. While, yes, they are ranked higher than the Cinnamon Twists, that doesn’t mean Taco Bell knocked it out of the park. When you buy this product, you’ll get two little balls of dough that are covered in cinnamon. When you bite into them, they’re filled with cream … a lot of it. So much so that the sweetness is seriously overwhelming. Unless you have the most aggressive sweet tooth ever, it’s going to be difficult to eat more than one of these.
What’s even more ridiculous is how Taco Bell is advertising these things. On their website, the restaurant says, "Cinnabon Delights are the perfect excuse for you to have, what some would call, desserts for breakfast because they are totally a breakfast item. Don’t be fooled, they’re not a dessert item."
What? We don’t think we have to tell you that this is not a balanced breakfast. What’s more, it’s not even a breakfast that most people would want, as it’s not filling and it may put you into a sugar coma before you even arrive at work. If you’re really desperate for something sweet, go ahead and try these out. Otherwise, save yourself the toothache.
14. Cheesy Bean and Rice Burrito
This next one doesn’t appear so far down on our list because it doesn’t taste good, necessarily. It’s just here because, well, it’s kind of boring. There’s not much going on. And while that may be okay for food you make for yourself at home when you’re in a hurry, it’s not ideal when you’re doling out cash at the drive-thru window. Hey, if you’re going to eat something that’s not that great for you, you should at least enjoy it. Chances are, you won’t be too impressed if you try out Taco Bell’s Cheesy Bean and Rice Burrito.
It comes with refried beans, nacho cheese sauce, and seasoned rice. The addition of creamy jalapeño sauce definitely adds a kick, but it’s the only exciting flavor to be had. The rest of it is just kind of plain. Most people have tortillas, beans, and rice at home, so it doesn’t really make sense to go out and buy it at Taco Bell when it’s probably easier to throw it together yourself.
If you’re looking for something simple for yourself or you’re trying to feed a picky child, this may just be the burrito for you. But if you want to try the best that Taco Bell has to offer, there are plenty of other menu items that you’ll be happier with.
13. Steak Quesadilla
There’s something about a quesadilla that’s hard not to love. You fill just about any carb with cheese, and it’s pretty much guaranteed to be delicious. But a plain cheese quesadilla can be a bit boring, especially when you’re going out to eat. That’s why you may think about ordering Taco Bell’s Steak Quesadilla instead. The steak undeniably takes an otherwise plain quesadilla up a notch, which is exactly what we want in this situation. However, it’s still not our top choice for a quesadilla. Why?
Unfortunately, you may get some dry steak when you order this menu item. Often, the steak can be overcooked, leaving you with tough pieces of meat that you might have to fight to chew. That’s probably not what you want in your quesadilla. That being said, the meat is seasoned really nicely, and you get a generous serving of the steak.
Those who really love steak might want to order this bad boy anyway and take their chances. To be fair, it probably all comes down to the individual location that prepares it. But if we were you, we would probably take a look at the other quesadilla options first.
12. Power Menu Bowl
Perhaps you’re looking for something that’s on the healthier side. If you are, Taco Bell is actually a great place to be. Even though Taco Bell serves fast food, you can find items that aren’t too bad for you on the menu. That’s certainly true when you order the Power Menu Bowl. This item is your typical bowl filled with rice and chicken, and we love that it comes with so many fresh ingredients like tomatoes and lettuce. The guacamole and the avocado ranch sauce give it a creaminess that makes it go down even better.
While this is a pretty solid menu item, we can’t help but be haunted by the fact that you can get basically the same thing but better at a lot of other restaurants (looking at you, Chipotle). If you’re already at Taco Bell and you’re just trying to grab something marginally healthy fast, then go for it. But if you’re specifically on the lookout for a great bowl, you’re better off skipping Taco Bell altogether and going someplace else.
11. Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes
Taco Bell is the kind of place you go to order a ton of different menu items to mix and match. Unless you get one of the bigger burritos, one item usually isn’t enough. Therefore, if you want to, you can sample a variety of flavors when you decide to eat here. If you’re looking for a side item, you may come across the Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes. This kind of seems like a random menu item because you wouldn’t normally see a side of potatoes like this at a Mexican restaurant. But we can kind of get on board.
The potatoes are smothered in cheese and sour cream, and they have a nice seasoning to them. However, since they’re cut into chunks instead of fries, they don’t really have a crispy texture. Instead, they’re just kind of soft and limp. We really love the flavor, but the texture is just so-so. While we would probably just order another small taco instead of choosing this side to eat with our Taco Bell meal, we still think it’s something you should try at least once when you make your way to the chain.
10. Chicken Chipotle Melt
If you’re looking for something that’s on the cheaper side, you may want to check out the Chicken Chipotle Melt. It’s on the value menu, which means it only costs a single dollar. If it were a little more expensive, it wouldn’t have ranked this well on the list. That’s because there’s not much to it. Inside the tortilla, you’ll find chicken, cheese, and chipotle sauce … and that’s it. No rice, no beans, no veggies — nothing to bulk it up. That being said, it’s not a great choice if you’re looking for a lunch that will fill you up.
On the other hand, though, this simple dish is actually pretty tasty. The chicken is nice and juicy, and who doesn’t like plenty of cheese? The cheese-to-chicken-to-tortilla ratio is pretty good, which you’ll surely enjoy (unless you’re lactose intolerant). But without the chipotle sauce, this menu item might fall flat. However, that extra burst of flavor makes the Chicken Chipotle Melt something we could see ourselves ordering the next time we’re at Taco Bell.
To recap: Is it a great lunch or dinner choice? No. But if you’re looking for a little snack to help you make it through the day, you may have found your answer.
9. Chicken Quesadilla
Remember when we told you how we feel about the Steak Quesadilla? Overall, it’s a great idea, but the steak is kind of lackluster. Well, you won’t have the same experience when you order the Chicken Quesadilla from Taco Bell instead. It’s got everything we love about the steak version: the piles of melted cheese, the perfectly cooked tortilla, and the creamy jalapeño sauce. But it’s missing that dry steak, and in its place is juicy chicken.
While the steak at Taco Bell may not be great, you know you’re going to get something good with the chicken. It’s got a lot of texture, and you won’t find that they skimp on the amount they give you in the quesadilla. The flavor of it also goes really well with all that cheese, and you may even get that cheese pull you know you love when you take a big bite.
We do, however, stand by the fact that this is really easy to make on your own at home. If you’re trying to save money, that’s probably a better option, considering there aren’t really any special ingredients that you can’t access at a grocery store. Additionally, this is not the kind of food that’s easy to eat in the car when you’re on the go, so you may want to wait until you get home to dig in anyway.
8. Soft Taco Supreme
Sometimes, you might just want to stick with the basics, and you can do just that when you opt for the Soft Taco Supreme from Taco Bell. When you think of an American taco, this thing is probably what comes to mind. The most important factor in this kind of taco is the flour tortilla. Is that traditional in Mexico? No. But if it’s what you like, then this taco should be on your radar. Inside the tortilla, things get more interesting. There’s the seasoned beef, the lettuce, and the tomatoes. The rich taste of the meat plus the fresh veggies means we’re already off to a great start.
The cheese and sour cream add a creaminess to the taco to round out all the flavors. Overall, it’s a tasty taco that you won’t regret you ordered. While we definitely think this taco is one of the better options on the menu, we have to be honest: Soft tacos just aren’t as good as hard-shell tacos. Feel free to disagree, but we have to take a stance on the difficult issues. Of course, if you prefer a soft shell, go for it! But if you, like us, like a little crunch when you bite into your taco, then you’ll probably enjoy what we have coming up.
7. Nacho Fries
Think that you can’t get fries at Taco Bell? Well … think again. The Nacho Fries come and go from the menu all the time, so you’ll have to keep an eye on it if you want to catch them the next time they come back. When you first hear the name of this side dish, you may think it sounds like something totally new and unexpected. We’re sorry to burst your bubble, but that’s not really the case. The nacho fries are basically just seasoned fries that are served with nacho cheese dip on the side.
While that’s not exactly novel or groundbreaking, we have to admit that it’s a good pairing. Who doesn’t love cheese and potatoes, after all? And since you’re not going to find nacho fries on any other fast food menu that we can think of, they’re definitely worth trying when you go to Taco Bell.
6. Cheesy Gordita Crunch
One of the top reasons you may want to eat at a fast food restaurant is because it offers you a new and novel culinary experience that you can’t get at home. Sure, the food may be cheap, but sometimes it’s clever in a way that other more formal restaurants just can’t match. That’s definitely the case for this menu item.
According to the Taco Bell website, "Not often does a food innovation come along that completely transforms the way we eat, yet the Cheesy Gordita Crunch has become a lasting staple of our personality as Taco Bell. It’s a privilege to witness a culinary phenomenon of this magnitude during our tiny slice of life on this earth." Wow, that’s intense. But really, when you first taste the Cheesy Gordita Crunch, you’ll definitely get what all the hype is about.
That’s because it’s your classic hard-shell taco with an amazing twist: That hard shell is coated in cheese and then encased in a soft shell as well. If you’re the kind of person who can never decide what they want, then this creative invention is definitely the right choice for you. It may be a little weird, but we like it that way.
5. Naked Chicken Chalupa
For those who like the downright bizarre fast food inventions that some companies come up with, you’re going to love the idea of the Naked Chicken Chalupa. When you first look at the ingredients list for this one, you might think that something’s missing. You’ll see lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, and avocado ranch sauce, but where’s the protein? It doesn’t look like there’s any protein at all, whether in the form of meat or beans.
But wait … look closer at the shell of the chalupa. Once you see what’s really going on, you’ll realize that this might be the greatest fast food invention of all time. That’s because the shell of this chalupa is made with fried chicken. Does this sound like the most American food of all time? Yes. Are we going to lean into it? Also yes. Surprisingly, it actually tastes incredible. The chicken is juicy on the inside but nice and crunchy on the outside, which gives the chalupa as a whole the ideal texture. And all those veggies are essential in keeping this meal from being too overwhelming.
Is this option the right choice for those who want to keep it simple? No. But if you like to push the boundaries a bit, the Naked Chicken Chalupa may be just right for you.
4. Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Taco
Now we have to address one of the most beloved Taco Bell menu items of all times: the Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Taco. It may look like an average, everyday taco, which it is — for the most part. But the fact that the crunchy shell is made from Doritos makes it clear that this taco is a winner in everyone’s book. There’s something about Doritos that makes them absolutely addictive, and when you pair that with taco ingredients … well, what’s not to love about that?
We think that Fast Food Geek summed it up perfectly with their review of this delightful taco treat: "Biting down I was entrenched in a world of wonderment and fantasy. Gone were the days whenever people would have to eat tortilla chips and tacos separately. Now we live in a world where the two traditions were merged as one caloric gem."
All the taco purists out there may not like this one, but we definitely think you should give it a try, especially if you’ve ever finished a whole bag of Doritos in one sitting. (We’ve all done that, right?)
3. Crunchy Taco
When you see a menu as large and as long at Taco Bell’s, it can be easy to get stuck in your own head, unsure of what you should order. After all, you don’t want to make the wrong move and order something you don’t actually like. If you’re feeling indecisive, perhaps the best way to order is by just sticking to the classics and choosing something you’re almost positive you’re going to love. The Crunchy Taco from Taco Bell is the perfect solution in this dilemma.
Just four ingredients come together to create this taco, so there aren’t a lot of unknown variables here. You’ve got the hard shell taco (as we’ve mentioned, we think the hard shell is the best), the seasoned beef, some lettuce, and some cheese. That’s it. None of that is very easy to mess up, so you’ll know you’re getting a quality product every time.
Don’t be afraid to get creative with this taco, though. Did you know that you can order add-ons with many of the menu items at Taco Bell? If you want to take this one to the next level, consider adding beans, tomatoes, or even chicken.
2. Hash Brown Toasted Breakfast Burrito
Can you believe the No. 2 slot in this ranking is actually a breakfast item? Taco Bell wasn’t always open for breakfast, so it’s impressive that they have such a good selection of items that you can eat in the morning. As we already mentioned, the Cinnabon Delights probably aren’t the best way to start off your day unless you want to have a sugar crash by 11 a.m. If you’re at the fast food chain in the morning and you’re wondering what you should get to each, we recommend the Hash Brown Toasted Breakfast Burrito.
A blend of steak, egg, and cheese is exactly what you would expect from any breakfast burrito on the market, and that’s certainly what you’ll find here. But you’ll also find something else in this burrito that takes it to a new level: a whole hash brown. In the middle of all that egg and cheese rests a hash brown patty just waiting for you to find it. This addition adds the perfect amount of saltiness and crunch to what would otherwise be a standard burrito.
We can’t emphasize enough how good this thing is. Taco Bell may not seem like the best place for breakfast, but this burrito is worth the trip first thing in the morning.
1. Crunchwrap Supreme
We hope you aren’t surprised that the famous Crunchwrap Supreme has made it into the first spot in this ranking. It’s a burrito. No, it’s a tostada. No, it’s an amalgamation of all of your Mexican-American fast food dreams, all rolled up into one hexagonal, portable sandwich-esque thing you’ll fall for time and time again. It’s massive, and it features a ton of ingredients, from the seasoned beef to the crunchy tostada to the cheese, tomatoes, and lettuce, all coexisting in perfect harmony.
We aren’t the only ones who think that the Crunchwrap Supreme is a gift from above. Bon Appétit published an article entitled "Taco Bell’s Crunchwrap Supreme Is a Gift From the Fast-Food Gods and I Don’t Care Who Hears Me Say It." Now that’s some serious love. In the article, they write, "Crunchwraps are truly a marvelous feat of fast-food engineering. It’s like a delicious multilayer dip all held together by a tortilla. If perfectly made and eaten before it gets too soggy, you get a bite of every one of Taco Bell’s classic, delightful building blocks."
If this doesn’t show you the love people have for Crunchwraps, then we don’t know what does. This piece of fast food genius should be your go-to order from Taco Bell, if we have anything to say about it.